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science as a way of knowing

Here's a nice quote for you about the nature of science (courtesy of a commenter over at Open Parachute):

There are two ways in which I think science, as a way of learning about the natural world can be distinguished from other proposed methods. First, science is not a personal and private experience. It is available equally to all and is identical regardless of gender, creed, etc. It is not dependent on private revelation or a personal experience. Secondly, it is self correcting. Nothing in science is held to be absolutely true; everything is provisional and ready to be discarded or modified when evidence shows science and reality to differ.

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One of the things I love about science is that people from wildly different cultural and social backgrounds can sit down and look at a problem together. You only have to look at the diversity in staff in science labs for see the first point in action. (For non-scientists, those PR photos of multi-cultural laboratories aren't because they're trying to be PC: research groups really are like that!)

The second point may be harder for outsiders to see, in that it occurs over time, whereas most people not that interested in science are probably only seeing any one topic at one point in time. (True?)

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